Our Carlton Senior Living Pleasant Hill community was pleased to host Samantha Lopez earlier this year during the Spring 2018 Semester. Samantha came on board at Carlton as a Masters of Social Work intern from Arizona State University. Under the supervision of our then Resident Liaison Rhodesia Wright, Samantha spent her internship time working directly with our residents in both a group setting and one-on-one.
Mindfulness Based Therapy uses meditation and breathing like techniques to help direct the focus onto the present moment. It allows individuals to become more aware of their physical body, feelings and thoughts with the objective being to achieve relief from anxiety and allow the person to de-stress. Mindfulness Based Therapy can be used to treat a variety of issues including but not limited to; depression, stress reduction, chronic pain and anxiety. The important principles of Mindfulness Based Therapy center on Intention, Attention and Attitude. The first concept is the idea of setting intention with regard to personal goals and visions. The second concept is to focus your attention on the present moment. The third and final concept is to practice calmness, acceptance and composure in your attitude and being.
Having obtained a background and certification in Mindfulness Based Therapy (MBT), Samantha was able to connect to one resident in particular and with her approval to participate, implemented MBT with her over the course of six sessions. Each session lasted approximately five to eight minutes with the goals focusing on helping to ease the levels of anxiety that the resident was experiencing. Strategies of the MBT sessions included implementing breathing techniques that promoted relaxation as well establishing exercises that focused on sensory, imagery and emotions. At the end of the six sessions the resident reported improvement in her sleep and decreased anxiety. Empowerment throughout the six weeks was vital to help the resident determine her next steps and goals towards continuing the process.
Socialization brings about a positive impact for our mental well-being. Having the opportunity to feel emotionally connected to other individuals and their lives allows us the ability to feel purposeful in our roles for not only our life but theirs as well. Samantha shared that her favorite part of her experience at Carlton Senior Living was the relationships she built with the residents and associates. She stated that, “Helping residents transition through various facets of aging has been such a rewarding experience.” Her plan since graduating in July 2018 and receiving her Master’s Degree in Social Work is to find a position within the Contra Costa County that will allow her to utilize the motivation she has to make a difference in the quality of life for older adults by serving that population.